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Best open-world RPGs of 2022

2022 is shaping up to be an incredible year for the RPG genre with a number of notable releases, from AAA to independent studios, that will guarantee our next adventures. Here’s a look at some of the top RPG releases for 2022.
Best open-world RPGs of 2022
There is nothing we enjoy more than investing plenty of time getting lost in an open-world role-playing game; exploring the vast environments, spending hours farming resources and crafting weapons and armour or enjoying a quiet afternoon doing a few side quests for extra XP and money.

In 2022, there are plenty of amazing RPG releases to look forward to. From AAA studios to independent passion projects, there is an RPG to appeal to every player. With that being said, here are some of 2022’s biggest and anticipated open-world RPG releases worth investing in and the platforms they’ll be available on.

UPDATE: Developer GSC Game World has pushed back the release of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl from 28th April 2022 to 8th December 2022.

Dying Light 2: Stay Human

Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, PC

Release date: 4th February 2022

This open-world zombie survival game will finally arrive on console and PC following a rather difficult journey since its reveal at E3 2018. Originally slated for release in 2020, it was then delayed indefinitely until it resurfaced this year with a 2022 release attached to the project.

Taking on the formula of what made Dying Light a critical success and expanding it to a new location and new protagonist, Dying Light 2 improves on its gameplay mechanics, narrative direction and combat system. Speaking of combat, the first-person parkour system is more fluid and dynamic that will have players leaping across buildings to take down enemy threats and the infected with ease.

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Based on the decisions you make in-game, it will take effect in future dialogue and events as well as environmental changes. (Picture: Techland)

Furthermore, developer Techland will introduce a new narrative mechanic to the game where the decisions and actions you make will have a near-direct consequence on future events as well as changing the environments around you. Dying Light 2 is poised to be a more polished yet innovative offering from the first entry.

Horizon: Forbidden West

Platforms: PlayStation 4 and 5

Release date: 18th February 2022

Developer Guerrilla Games looks to give us more mecha dinosaurs as Aloy will be returning in her next adventure in 2022. First announced during the PlayStation State of Play Showcase, Horizon: Forbidden West will see Aloy explore a brand new and dynamic world with secrets to uncover, enemy threats to tackle and plenty of vistas to enjoy.

Throughout her journey, Aloy is tasked with restoring balance and order to this new world but she won’t be alone with a few allies returning to aid her. While we discovered how Aloy and her world came to be in Horizon: Zero Dawn, in this direct sequel we will learn about her purpose in this mysterious world.

Elden Ring

Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC

Release date: 25th February 2022

Considered to be one of the most highly anticipated releases for 2022, developer FromSoftware are back on our radar for what could be the most grandiose and ambitious releases from the Dark Souls creators to date. Teaming up with acclaimed fantasy author, George R. R. Martin, Elden Ring is everything like Dark Souls and also not Dark Souls.

Opting for an open-world level design, a world map where players can place markers on, a new Guard countering combat mechanic and horse riding, Elden Ring is expanding the Dark Souls formulae to bring something new and innovative to the RPG genre.

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Following delays and a successful Closed Network Beta, FromSoftware are ready to deliver their most ambitious title to date, Elden Ring. (Picture: FromSoftware / Bandai Namco)

Following the shattering of the Elden Ring, which saw many inhabitants lose the blessing, this cataclysmic event slowly guides the Tarnished back to the Lands. As a Tarnished, you will encounter various characters that will either help or hinder your journey to the cursed lands whose secrets you will have to uncover.

Oh, did we mention that George R. R. Martin wrote the gameplay narrative for the game?! Hopefully, this will be a taste of what to expect with the upcoming The Winds of Winter book.

Forspoken

Platforms: PlayStation 5, PC

Release date: 24th May 2022

Square Enix will be bringing a brand action RPG experience to avid players with their latest IP, Forspoken. The game follows a young woman who gets transported to an unfamiliar yet breathtaking world of Athia.

Throughout her journey of this world, she learns of magical abilities connected to a charmed bracelet she wears which she uses to find her way back home.

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Using the magic bracelet tied to the protagonist's arm, she can conjure magic to defend herself from Athia's terrifying foes. (Picture: Square Enix)

Unfortunately, Athia became corrupted by a curse that transformed not only the lands but its people and a group of benevolent sorceresses called Tantas into horrific and maddened creatures that roam across its domains. The remaining citizens ask for help in returning the lands to what it was as she fights off vicious threats and confronts the Tantas in the centre of this corrupted world.

Square Enix calls Forspoken a "thrilling, otherworldly adventure" thanks to its open-world environments, RPG elements and a unique yet fluid traversal system. Incorporating magic into the protagonist’s combat system will allow her to perform what the studio calls “magic parkour” when confronting enemies.

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Previously known as Project Athia, publisher Square Enix is bringing an original RPG experience with their forthcoming release, Forspoken. (Picture: Square Enix)

As of writing, this game remains to be a PlayStation exclusive but will also be available on PC. With an intriguing narrative and stunning visuals, Forspoken blends high fantasy level design with real-world concepts to give players one unique and modern gameplay experience to look forward to.

Starfield

Platforms: Xbox Series X|S, PC

Release date: 11th November 2022

Bethesda Game Studios’ first RPG in over 25 years is set in a hyper-futuristic world not far from ours. Starfield is grounded, realistic and explorative; vastly different from the post-apocalyptic world of Fallout and the epic fantasy world of Tamriel in The Elder Scrolls series.

There aren’t many details about Starfield other than its great emphasis on exploration. Players will explore many worlds as well as ponder on what’s beyond the vacuum of space. More importantly, whatever happened to Earth?

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Set in the hyper-realistic future, Starfield will place players in the vast regions of space in Bethesda's next RPG adventure. (Picture: Bethesda Game Studios)

According to game director, Todd Howard, Starfield is “like NASA meets Indiana Jones meets the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, a group of people that are still searching for answers". Seem like quite an adventure we're looking forward to exploring.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl

Platforms: Xbox Series X|S, PC

Release date: 8th December 2022 (new release date)

A 13-year-long journey for S.T.A.L.K.E.R. fans will mark the return of the revered horror series with the next entry, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl. After two quick sequels and a planned fourth entry that was subsequently cancelled, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl looks to have vastly improved from its predecessor in more ways imaginable.

The post-apocalyptic survivor game will return to the location of the tragic catastrophe as you play a Stalker, gas mask-wearing bounty hunter making their way throughout the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Seeking treasure and unravelling more mysteries, the developer has noted that there will be plenty of monsters and enemy factions that look to prey on the weak with the exclusion zone.

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Avid players won't have to wait much longer for the highly anticipated release, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl. (Picture: GSC Game World)

The world of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone will be simulated so everything that happens within this area will occur whether you’ll be there or not.

Baldur’s Gate 3

Platforms: PC (Early Access), Google Stadia

Release date: Unannounced date in 2022

One of the most acclaimed RPG series has a sequel in Baldur’s Gate 3 coming from Larian Studios, the team behind Divinity: Original Sin series. Currently, in Early Access on Steam, Baldur’s Gate 3 is poised for a 2022 release depending on its run during Early Access.

From what we know thus far about the game is that it will bring players back to Sword Coast for this next adventure. Fully embracing the systemic RPG elements with turn-based combat, Larian Studios have made Baldur’s Gate 3 distinctively their own game without too much deviation from the previous entries.

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Currently available in Steam Early Access, developer Larian Studios are taking charge of Baldur's Gate 3 set for a release sometime in 2022. (Picture: Larian Studios)

The game is constantly changing through the many patch updates which saw plenty of bugs and glitches being ironed out, its gameplay remains unfinished. Nevertheless, you can enjoy the first act of Baldur’s Gate 3 which includes a new region, Grymforge, which should give fans of Baldur’s Gate an idea of what’s to come.

Larian Studios have yet to confirm the official release date for Baldur’s Gate 3 which we will update this article when more information becomes available.

The Lord of the Rings: Gollum

Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, PC

Release date: Unannounced date in 2022

2022 will see us travelling back to Middle-Earth in a new epic fantasy RPG adventure, The Lord of the Rings: Gollum. With most of its gameplay centred around Gollum in the years before the events in the film trilogy, the game will explain much of Gollum’s backstory in great detail.

From his imprisonment at the Dark Tower, Barad-dûr in Mordor to his stay with the Elves of Mirkwood, every moment of Gollum’s life will be explored. Gollum may not be the most powerful combatant however, he can utilise his agility, stealth and cunning ways to navigate and master almost anything he encounters.

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Set prior to the events in the film series, The Lord of the Rings: Gollum tells of the personal trials and tribulations of the game's titular character, Gollum. (Picture: Daedalic Entertainment)

Torn between his split personality as Gollum or the Hobbit, Sméagol, we get a first-person perspective on the events he has witnessed, the things he has seen or heard and the perils he endured. The decisions players make will have a great impact on their personality, deciding which to accept: Gollum or Sméagol.

Developer Daedalic Entertainment has yet to confirm the official release date for The Lord of the Rings: Gollum but we don anticipate the return to Middle-Earth in 2022.

Ark: Survival Evolved 2

Platforms: Xbox Series X|S, PC

Release date: Unannounced date in 2022

The direct sequel to Ark: Survival Evolved from Studio Wildcard will be making its way to console and PC in 2022. Labelled as a “console launch exclusive”, Ark: Survival Evolved 2 is taking the next giant step in the Ark series in the hybrid survival game.

Not much is known about the gameplay but if it lends itself to similar mechanics from the first Ark game, we could see players drop in on a map with little resources and plenty of dinosaurs to either tame or hunt down for more resources.

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Studio Wildcard is set to bring players back to the prehistoric period with more dinosaurs to tame or hunt in Ark: Survival Evolved 2. (Picture Studio Wildcard)

Additionally, you will need to keep your character well-fed and hydrated and get adequate sleep if they wish to survive the elements and threats that could endanger your livelihood. Set up camps or fortifications and acquire blueprints for effective structures and gear that will increase your chances of survival.

The cinematic trailer showcases the game’s impressive visuals as well as the hybrid sci-fi/fantasy style but all we can think of is highly advanced dinosaurs and Vin Diesel. Not only is the actor a fan of the game but will serve as executive producer for the game and star in the animated series, Ark: The Animated Series.

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Hollywood actor, Vin Diesel, will have a pivotal role not just in Ark: Survival Evolved 2 but in its animated series arriving in 2022. (Picture: Studio Wildcard)

No confirmation on Ark 2’s release date but it is expected to release sometime in 2022. For now, players can get Ark: Survival Evolved via Xbox Game Pass if they have yet to experience this genre-bending open-world adventure game.

Hogwarts Legacy

Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC

Release date: Unannounced date in 2022

From prehistoric worlds to epic fantasy lands, RPG fans will get to experience the magic and wonder at the acclaimed Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Developed by Avalanche Software who has a good record of producing “toys-to-life” gaming titles such as the Disney Infinity series, Hogwarts Legacy is the studio’s first independent release since its acquisition by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

Set in the 1800s, before the events in the Harry Potter series, this open-world action RPG allows players to roam around and beyond the prestigious magic school. The game will feature a few familiar locations and faces but rather than expanding the story already told, it will present a new and unique story within the Wizarding World universe.

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A new chapter in the Wizarding World series will spellbound players in Hogwarts Legacy, scheduled for a 2022 release. (Picture: Avalanche Software)

Officially announced in 2020, we were anticipating getting our Hogwarts admittance letter in 2021. However, the studio pushed back Hogwarts Legacy’s release to 2022 when we can finally board the Hogwarts Express.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel

Platform: Nintendo Switch

Release date: Unannounced date in 2022

The land and the skies of Hyrule awaits us in 2022 when Nintendo releases the much-anticipated sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Although the publisher has yet to confirm the official sequel’s title, they have been very guarded on any details regarding the game, its gameplay and release date.

Even so, our next adventure in Hyrule will expand to the skies as we have seen in the trailer during the Nintendo Showcase at E3 2021. Breath of the Wild 2 marks the return of floating cities and plenty of heavenly activities like paragliding amidst the clouds over Hyrule.

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What secrets and mysteries have to be discovered when Link makes his return to Hyrule in the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2? (Picture: Nintendo)

The expectations are set pretty high for the Breath of the Wild sequel based on the previous game’s success. What we do know is that Breath of the Wild 2 will be one of the year’s biggest launches for Nintendo amongst a slew of massive RPG releases.

As many of these RPG releases in 2022 have confirmed release dates, other releases have not been confirmed by the end of 2021. Nevertheless, 2022 will be a massive year for video games, especially open-world RPGs that we can’t wait to begin our next adventure.

 

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Featured image courtesy of Nintendo, Studio Wildcard, Daedalic Entertainment and Guerilla Games.